Hospitality is a globally recognised quality of Filipino people who naturally welcome anyone with warm and kind open arms. They love to spend time with family and friends and what better way to fulfil this than by having a party or get-together. Filipinos are specialists in festivity and entertainment and have a habit to go above and beyond. Filipino parties tend to be loud and busy, but very fun from start to finish. The celebration is usually for a birthday, debut (18th Birthday) or graduation. Sometimes it can be a last-minute planned get-together but would often escalate into something bigger. I have hosted and attended many Filipino parties and always seem to have common features and foods which have become standard to the way of celebrating Filipino style.
As soon as I walk into a Filipino house party, I notice other guests’ shoes are cluttered around the entrance. It is custom to not wear your shoes in a Filipino household. After removing your shoes, you are faced with a jigsaw puzzle of finding a location to place your shoes with the dilemma of not touching the unclean shoes of other guests’ and to not block the passageway.
Another prominent feature when you enter the house or venue is the fragrant aroma of food. Your mind then wanders and attempts to speculate which dishes are responsible for the intense smells. When you reach the food table, your jaw drops to find the entire table filled to the brim of edible delights. Your eyes are then attracted to the showstopper that is the whole roasted suckling pig called Lechon. This is usually served by the host after hacking and slicing the pig and then hands out meat pieces and then a single piece of the crispy skin.
Other common foods include Lumpia and Filipino-style Spaghetti. Lumpia is minced meat mixed with thinly sliced vegetables wrapped in thin pastry and then deep-fried. Filipino-style Spaghetti is effectively the same ingredients as the traditional Italian dish but with the addition of sliced hot-dogs, ketchup and a touch of sugar or evaporated milk.
Filipino parties are not Filipino parties if they don’t have a good old Karaoke session. The host will usually kick off with an over-rehearsed retro song and simultaneously point to their guests indicating they are next to sing. The older male folk would regularly belt out an Elvis Presley classic along with a voice and dance impersonation. Even if you are not the best singer in the world, everyone’s courage is appreciated, all in the name of fun and enjoyment.
When Filipino parties are nearing the end, it is normal for guests to be handed a large bag. This bag contains portions of the buffet-style food in Tupperware containers or wrapped in kitchen foil. Every Filipino party tends to have an overabundance of food and thus the leftovers are passed onto the guests.
Leaving the party is a task in itself, due to the number of relatives and friends you have to say goodbye to, which often evolves into a lengthy conversation. When you finally reach the door, you are confronted with a huge pile of displaced and uncoupled shoes. Reclaiming your shoes is like finding a needle in a haystack. Departing does not end there, as you stumble upon other guests already outside trying to leave and engage in extended discussions. The process of saying your goodbyes end up taking hours but again all adds to the fun of a Filipino party.
Here is a video of a Filipino party my wife and I recently hosted…
Ain’t no party like a Filipino party!